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Re: [BKARTS] Drucker Article

JenniferVignone wrote:

I have a question, does it bother anyone on the list is an artist just
makes a book? I mean, artist John Doe, who has never made a book,
taken a class, really looked at artists books, or book art (however
you want to call it), makes a book. It gets into a show, and no one
from this list is too impressed  -- maybe because the artist hired a
book artist to sew it and therefore, didn't do it him/herself, maybe
because it was sloppily done because they did do it themselves and
didn't worry about the correct tools and methods, maybe because they
called it a book and it isn't a book to you. What goes through your
mind when you see something like that? Is it sort of like...well, once
they bought a Mac, they all thought they were designers--my own
personal work hell as I work in a place where everyone has become a
critic, a designer, a usability specialist, and all around super
artist right before my very eyes (bitter, me, yeah, okay, you got me).

I once took a drawing class at an excellent art college, and in the teacher's bio she listed "bookarts" as one of her areas of interest. What this turned out to mean was that she cut the covers off of old books and painted on the doublures. I have no objection to cutting up old books (within reason, of course), but this seemed to me to be taking liberties with the definition of "bookarts." She was a fine illustrator and a nice person, but not, I think, a book artist.

Having had my little rant about how she defined her work, though, I have
to admit I'd prefer a world without labels: as I imagine it, a creative
work should stand or fall on its own merits, regardless of how it is
defined. I'd even like to say that it doesn't matter to me if the
talented John Doe sewed his own binding, as long as the resulting work
successfully communicated what was in his heart when he came up with the
idea; if he is honest about it and does not call himself the binder, why
worry? After all, most of us don't make our own paper, spin our own
thread, or mix our own pigments. On some level, all of us collaborate
with other craftsmen, and that's not only OK, it's wonderful: I'll
*never* be a great paper marbler, but I believe I can take advantage of
others' skill at marbling to make beautiful objects of my own design.

And having said all that, I should note that I am an amateur, and if I
had spent 20 years learning the craft of bookbinding, and earned my
living at that excellent trade, I would probably be really annoyed by
dilletante self-described "bookartists" who can't sew worth a damn and
don't know anything about the mysteries of paper, board, and glue.

Matthew Garelick

Edelpappband / ?Millimeter? Binding Bind-O-Rama, Entry Deadline - October 1, 2005

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